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Listen Up! Award-Winning Audiobooks

Listen List logoJust in time for your upcoming road trip, workout, daily commute, household chore, or well-earned rest, the winners of the 2016 Listen List are here to read you a story. Selected for outstanding narration, each title promises a thrilling listening experience that can’t help but satisfy. Choose your adventure and press play!


Til the Well Runs Dry audiobook cover‘Til the Well Runs Dry
Lauren Francis-Sharma
True Story audiobook coverTrue Story
Michael Finkel


H is for Hawk audiobook cover H is for Hawk
Helen Macdonald
And Only to Deceive audiobook coverAnd Only to Deceive
Tasha Alexander
All Involved audiobook coverAll Involved
Ryan Gattis


All the Old Knives audiobook coverAll the Old Knives
Olen Steinhauer
Strangler Vine audiobook coverThe Strangler Vine
M.J. Carter


Dead Wake audiobook coverDead Wake
Erik Larson

The Knockoff audiobook coverThe Knockoff
Lucy Sykes, Jo Piazza



Music: Italian Music for Your Ferrante Fever

Ferrante Fever Header Image

Have you found yourself being overtaken by Ferrante Fever?

Give yourself a soundtrack as you read the popular book series set in Naples, Italy by Elena Ferrante. The books begin in 1950 following two best friends when they’re in elementary school and as they age.

The Best of Jimmy Roselli album cover The Best of Jimmy Roselli

Italian-American singer Jimmy Roselli began his career in the early 1960s. He was known to sing classic songs from Naples, described as “singing in perfect Neapolitan dialect.” This more relaxed album starts out with “Mala Femmena,” which is considered to be his signature song.




Serenade a Mario Lanza album coverSerenade: A Mario Lanza Songbook

With some songs sung in Italian and others in English, this compilation sung by Mario Lanza moves from upbeat and whimsical to more leisurely-paced romantic sweeping melodies. An orchestra conducted by Frank Sinatra’s cousin, Ray Sinatra provides a sweeping foundation for most of the tracks.




guiseppe di stefano album cover

Giuseppe di Stefano Neapolitan Songs

Di Stefano takes his operatic tenor to Neapolitan songs in this collection of classics, all sung in Italian. Di Stefano began his singing career in the 1940s and would have been popular while the fictional characters Elena and Lila were growing up.

Books: Will You Be Our Galentine?

Galentine's Day displayBefore you are swept away by the romance of Valentine’s Day, take a cue from Leslie Knope of Parks & Recreation and honor the female friendships in your life.  That’s right!  February 13 is Galentine’s Day, a day for ladies to celebrate ladies.  Need a little inspiration?  Try one of these:

Wildwater Walking Club book coverThe Wildwater Walking Club
by Claire Cook

Noreen, Tess, and Rosie walk and talk their way through life’s ups and downs in their town of Wildwater. As they tally their steps and share their secrets, life begins to take them in some new and surprising directions.

Sushi for Beginners book coverSushi for Beginners
by Marian Keyes

Depicts the lives of three women in the fashion trade, exploring the trials and tribulations as well as the happiness and joy of true friends in the fast-paced worlds of love and career.

Annie Freemans Fabulous Traveling Funeral book coverAnnie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral
by Kris Radish

An unexpected bequest from a late friend takes five women on a wild and life-transforming road trip from the deserts of New Mexico to the shores of Lake Superior, as they celebrate the bonds of female friendship.

Circle of Friends book coverCircle of Friends
by Maeve Binchy

Two friends who grew up together in a small Irish village attend college in Dublin, where their lives become intertwined with the beautiful Nan Mahon and Jack Foley, the handsome son of a doctor.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe book coverFried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
by Fannie Flagg

Mrs. Threadgoode’s tale of two high-spirited women of the 1930s, Idgie and Ruth, helps Evelyn, a 1980s woman in a sad slump of middle age, to begin to rejuvenate her own life.

Shoe Addicts Anonymous book cover

Shoe Addicts Anonymous
by Beth Harbison

Four different women  meet Tuesday nights to trade shoes and, in the process, form friendships that will help them each triumph over their problems.


This is only a sample of the gal pals on offer at the Library. Ask online or stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen desk on the second floor and we will connect you with something to fit your mood!

Book Discussion Questions: Liar Temptress Soldier Spy by Karen Abbott

Liar Temptress Solider Spy book coverTitle:  Liar Temptress Soldier Spy: Four Women Undercover in the Civil War
Author:  Karen Abbott
Page Count: 513 pages
Genre: Nonfiction, History, Collective Biographies
Tone:  Dramatic, Richly Detailed, Compelling

One of the most fascinating yet little-known aspects of the Civil War is illuminated in the stories of four courageous women — a socialite, a farm girl, an abolitionist, and a widow — who risked everything to take on a life of espionage.  Their adventures comprise a fascinating quartet of determination and intrigue from both sides of the battle lines.

These book discussion questions are highly detailed and will ruin plot points if you have not read the book.

Questions composed by MPPL Staff

1. How many in the group recall learning about Belle Boyd, Elizabeth Van Lew, Rose O’Neal Greenhow, or Sarah Emma Edmonds prior to this book? Given their individual stories, is that surprising? Why do you think this is?

2. Author Karen Abbott specifically did not want to write about a single individual, instead repeatedly calling on the word tapestry to describe the weaving of multiple stories. Why do you think she chose these four women specifically?

3. Which of the four primary characters most fascinated you or elicited the strongest connection for you? Why? How might you guess Abbott herself answered this question? [Click here to find out.]

4. What factors might influence how we respond to each character? Did the affiliation with North or South matter to you? Personality? Circumstances? Traditional bias toward how women should behave?

5. For each of the four women, what were the most memorable escapades? How effective was each in advancing her cause?

6. Did you feel you had good sense of what in their pasts led these women to these roles? Did any surprise you?

7. What made the women more effective as spies than their male counterparts?

8. How did the women turn societal assumptions or traditions regarding gender to their advantage?

9. How would you describe each character’s relationships with the men in their lives?

10. Which of the supporting characters made an impression? For instance, what did you think of the parts played by Jerome Robbins or Mary Bowser?

11. Is each word in the title intended to correspond to one of the women, or does it hold a different message?

12. How effective is the title in drawing a reader? In establishing a tone for the writer’s approach?

13. The author’s intention was that this history read like a novel. How successful was she? What qualities support or contradict that intent?

14. What is gained by intertwining the four stories in a chronological structure? Would you have preferred to focus on one character at a time in four sections?

15. Abbott begins with the assurance that everything is factual, drawn from primary sources. Some readers question whether this can be true, even if that were her intention. What do you think? Does the issue affect your experience of the book?

16. Most everyone studies the Civil War, but hardly any are taught about Civil War spies, much less women as spies. Why not? What is the value of history instruction beyond battles and traditional leaders? Would you argue for better inclusion of stories like these in general histories?

17. Would you argue that this book holds appeal for both male and female readers? Why or why not?  How do you feel about this?

18. Karen Abbott enjoys writing about unconventional women in history who break the rules. If you have read her other accounts (Sin in the Second City, American Rose), how would you say this work compares?

19. Abbott’s next work is a novel about a real-life female con artist in the Gilded Age. Would you follow her into historical fiction? How do you think she’ll do?

Want help with your book discussion group? Check out tips, advice, and all the ways the Library can help support your group!


official website of author Karen Abbott
BookTV videorecording of Karen Abbott at the 2015 Savannah Book Festival
a Los Angeles Times review wonders why not call this work historical fiction
New Republic explores the controversy of sexist criticism
National Women’s History Museum profile of Belle Boyd
Smithsonian special report on “Elizabeth Van Lew: An Unlikely Union Spy
a Civil War Trust biography of Sarah Emma Edmonds
official Rebel Rose website


Stealing Secrets book coverSpymistress book coverCapital Dames book cover






Stealing Secrets: How a Few Daring Women Deceived Generals, Impacted Battles, and Altered the Course of the Civil War  by H. Donald Winkler
The Spymistress: A Novel  by Jennifer Chiaverini
Capital Dames: The Civil War and the Women of Washington, 1848-1868  by Cokie Roberts

New Book Spotlight: Page-Turners Featuring Twins

If you want a thriller, try…

Beside Myself book cover

Beside Myself by Ann Morgan

Already at six, Helen and Ellie have found their roles as a twin. Helen is the older, stronger and favored twin, while Ellie is slower as a result of a complication at birth and thus often ignored. The twins switch places as a funny prank, but once Ellie is in the coveted role of Helen, she refuses to switch back.




If you want a fantastical look at grief, try…

eleanor book cover

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

After the death of her identical twin, Eleanor is left picking up the pieces of her family’s grief. She begins slipping into other worlds which leads her to new discoveries about the tragedies that have affected her family over time.

Staff Pick: The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

Picture of ColleenThe niece of Sherlock Holmes meets the half-sister of Bram Stoker in this steampunk mystery by Colleen Gleason! Filled with action, snark, fascinating characters, Egyptian mythology, and a mystery that keeps you reading until the last page, The Clockwork Scarab is perfect for anyone who enjoys alternate history novels with a great mystery!

Books with a Man Wearing a Tie on the Cover

Did you know during the month of February, you can enter to win prizes for every book you read? Stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen desk to fill out a ticket for every book you finish (including e-books and audiobooks) and you might win a gift card! Why not try one of these books featuring a man with a tie on the cover?

The Mark and the Void book cover Finale by Thomas Mallon book cover Meatspace book cover








The Mark and the Void by Paul Murrary

Claude, an investment banker in Ireland, becomes the subject of an author’s next novel and finds his boring average life turning out to be filled with more excitement than he realized in the darkly comedic tale of economics.

Finale by Thomas Mallon

A richly detailed exploration of the Reagan Administration shares insights into the 40th President’s character and decisions while evaluating key historical events and the influences of such figures as Margaret Thatcher, Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon. (summary from Novelist)

Meatspace by Nikesh Shukla

After losing his job and his girlfriend, Kitab spends his days immersed in the internet, maintaining his various social media presences along with a very mature blog. His life takes a new direction, when a boy with the same name as him shows up on his door step declaring that they should be friends.

Books: Leave Behind Winter and Escape into a Book!

If you could escape into any book, which one would you want to escape into_

Would you love to be Elizabeth Bennet’s best friend in Pride and Prejudice? How about going on a date with Don Tillman in The Rosie Project or moving into your own hobbit hole? In celebration of Winter Reading, we asked Library staff what book they would like to escape into! Join in on the fun and tell us what book you’d like to escape into when you sign up for Winter Reading. Winter Reading for all ages lasts February 1-February 29!


Magic Strings of Frankie Presto cover and Miriam quote







Miriam would love to escape into The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom
David would love to escape into Great Expectations by Charles Dickens


The Rook cover and Jennifer quote







Jennifer would love to escape into The Rook by Daniel O’Malley
Cathleen would love to escape into Lost in a Good Book by Jasper Fforde


The Mists of Avalon and Anne quoteThe Paris Wife and Carol quote







Anne would love to escape into The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
Carol would love to escape into The Paris Wife by Paula McLain

A Week in Winter cover and Cathleen quoteWild Cards cover and Joe quote







Denise would love to escape into A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy
Joe would love to escape into Wild Cards by George R.R. Martin

Anna and the French Kiss cover and Janine quote








Janine would love to escape into Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Jenny would love to escape into How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

Mary Jane Jenny








Mary Jane would love to escape into Dragonriders of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
Barb would love to escape into The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien

Want to keep on experiencing the fun? Take a look at MPPL staff starring in the video Winter Reading 2016 as they escape to Mordor, the wild, from zombies, and more.

Asked At the Desk: Looking for Something Good to Read Part 2

Picture of Fiction/AV/Teen desk

One of the most popular questions at the desk is,

What is something good to read?

Since good is subjective, if you stop by the desk with this question and have time to talk we will try to narrow down what would be good specifically for you with questions like: What did you read last that you liked? Do you prefer your books to be set during a certain time period? What are you in the mood for today?

However, if you are looking to quickly glance at what’s been popular and/or notable recently, one good stop is the 2016 Reading List: Year’s Best in Genre Fiction for Adult Readers, created by The Reading Council. The award list is divided up by 8 different genres, with one title winning for each genre and 3-4 titles chosen for the short list.

Browse below what was chosen for mystery, science fiction, horror, and romance. Want to see what won for fantasy, historical fiction, woman’s fiction, and adrenaline? Check out our post from last Friday!


Winner: The Long and Faraway Gone by Lou Berney

Little Black Lies by Sharon Bolton
Land of Careful Shadows by Suzanne Chazin
Gun Street Girl by Adrian McKinty
Last Ragged Breath by Julia Keller


Winner: Taking the Heat by Victoria Dahl

When a Scot Ties the Knot book cover

When a Scot Ties the Knot by Tessa Dare
Rumor Has It by Cheris Hodges
A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley
Ever After by Jude Deveraux


The Fifth House of the Heart book cover

Winner: The Fifth House of the Heart by Ben Tripp

Little Girls book cover When We Were Animals book cover The Silence book coverA Head Full of Ghosts book cover

Little Girls by Ronald Malfi
When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord
The Silence by Tim Lebbon
A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay

Science Fiction

Golden Son book cover

Winner: Golden Son by Pierce Brown

Seveneves book coverSlow Bullets book cover  Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits book coverThe Water Knife book cover

Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
Slow Bullets by Alastair Reynolds
Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits by David Wong
The Water Knife by Paolo Bacigalupi

Have a question about books, movies, or music you’d like answered? Stop by the Fiction/AV/Teen desk on the second floor, or ask online!